Is more time at work worth it? Study suggests 70-hour work week no more productive than 55 hours

Soniya
70-hour work week doesn
70-hour work week doesn't equate to more productivity (Image via Vecteezy/ SANGHYUN JEO)

In a world where long work hours are often celebrated as a sign of dedication and success, a recent study challenges the 70-hour work week belief.

According to research conducted at Stanford University, working more than 55 hours per week is pointless, as productivity declines after a threshold.

The study also says that individuals who work up to 70-hour work week completes the same amount of work as those who work 15 hours less.


Why 70-hour work week hours don’t necessarily mean more productive time

55 hours is the peak threshold (Image via Unsplash/Bethany Legg)
55 hours is the peak threshold (Image via Unsplash/Bethany Legg)

The prevailing belief that longer work hours lead to increased productivity has been debunked by John

Pencavel, an economics professor at Stanford University. His research indicates that productivity per hour sharply declines once an individual exceeds the 50-hour mark.

After reaching 55 hours, the decrease becomes so significant that any additional hours worked provide little to no additional output.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a scholar at Stanford University, and author of the book "Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less," emphasizes the detrimental impact of busyness on achievement.

Pang argues against the notion that doing less and finding inner peace hinder success, despite the societal inclination to define ourselves by work, effectiveness and going the extra mile.


Incorporating the Law of Least Effort into daily life involves several key strategies

Doing less means more (Image via Unsplash/ Antonio Gabola)
Doing less means more (Image via Unsplash/ Antonio Gabola)

To counter the idea that longer work hours equate to greater productivity, Pang advocates for the adoption of the Law of Least Effort.

This spiritual law of success emphasizes focusing mental energy on the most significant tasks while detaching from the insignificant ones.

By staying present and avoiding unnecessary reactions, individuals can achieve more while seemingly doing less.

The first is acceptance, acknowledging and accepting the current circumstances without immediately reacting. This perspective shift allows individuals to focus on positive possibilities rather than dwelling on what's not going their way.

Sitting for too long can lead to early death (Image via Unsplash/Mimi T)
Sitting for too long can lead to early death (Image via Unsplash/Mimi T)

The second strategy is taking accountability. Instead of engaging in a fruitless struggle against minor issues, surrendering control and taking responsibility for one's own actions and reactions can lead to personal empowerment.

By recognizing that only we can control our mood, disposition,m and destiny, we can avoid allowing external factors to dictate our experiences.

The third way is to let go of chasing credit and shoutouts. Instead, focus on creating ideas and doing what's best for everyone, not just yourself. It will even make you look better than your coworkers.

70-hour work week - Maintaining a work life balance (Image via Unsplash/Crhistina W)
70-hour work week - Maintaining a work life balance (Image via Unsplash/Crhistina W)

Further supporting the findings of the aforementioned study, another study reveals that working long hours is associated with an increased risk of premature death.

Conducted by researchers from Norway and Denmark did a study and found that if you're sitting for more than 12 hours a day, you got a 38% higher risk of dying early.

It's key to balance getting things done and taking care of yourself. Take breaks, and do something that relaxes you, like a stroll at lunch.


As the study suggests, success isn't about clocking in crazy 70-hour work week. Finding a balance between work and personal life can make you happier and even boost workflow.

At the end of the day, it's all about doing quality work, not just stacking up hours. In summary, the study from Stanford University teaches us something important about work hours and productivity.

Turns out, working crazy 70-hour work week doesn't actually make you more productive. It's about focusing on the priority task and working smarter, not harder.

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